DJI Mavic Air
DJI has squeezed pro photography smarts into its latest portable aerial shooter, but is the Mavic Air really the best in its class?
approx. `79,999 amazon.in
Everyone’s idea of a dream holiday is different, and if yours involves high-octane pursuits you may have considered buying a drone to capture your adventures. We’re now spoiled for choice with mid-priced drones, and DJI is leading the pack for features, function and style. Especially with the Mavic Air, a slick, super-portable consumer drone built for capturing life outdoors. Ready for action
What’s immediately appealing about the Mavic Air is its size and weight. With the Transformeresque foldaway arms retracted, the drone measures less than 17cm nose-to-nose and only 9cm across. The collapsible gaming style controller is even smaller.
Setup is incredibly easy: charge the controller and Intelligent Flight Battery, download the DJI Go 4 app (Android/iOS) to your device and install the push/twist propellers. The app guides beginners through the process of getting airborne, while Beginner mode restricts altitude and speed as you learn the ropes.
Considering the high winds on test day, we were concerned as to whether the Mavic Air would perform. In normal conditions the drone’s powerful sensing systems and 3-axis camera gimbal work in harmony to keep flight stable and footage smooth,
but high winds really test a drone’s mettle. We needn’t have worried, as the Mavic Air navigates the breeze with cat-like stealth. Manual flight is fun when you know how, but DJI’s auto QuickShot mode is so good you don’t need any fancy pilot stripes to shoot cinematic footage.
Capturing a selfie or circling around a point of interest is as simple as selecting the right mode within the DJI Go app, tapping the subject on your device’s screen and watching the drone do its thing. Asteroid mode is new for the Mavic Air and is unlike anything we’ve seen before – select your target on-screen and the drone shoots 25 photos at various angles before stitching them into an immersive, spherical 32MP panorama worthy of sharing with everyone.
Use the force
DJI’s recognition tech never fails to impress. In ActiveTrack mode, select a moving object on screen and the drone follows with precision. Or, engage SmartCapture, flash the peace sign at the front of the drone and the camera snaps a selfie. It’s a novelty in the local park, but replace the kiddie swings with a mountain peak and the results would surely be epic.
Gesture Launch will bring out your inner Jedi. Use an outstretched arm and forward-facing palm to launch then control the Mavic Air. Widening both arms sends the drone away from you; closing your arms brings it back.
Relinquishing the controls of an expensive drone to the autopilot is daunting at first, but the Mavic Air has plenty of built-in safety smarts. GPS logs the take-off location and returns to that spot at the push of a button, or automatically if the drone runs into trouble. Crashing is nigh-on impossible, as 3D vision sensors at the front, rear and belly scan for hazards.
So far so fun, but it’s not all Jedi tricks – the Mavic Air is also a pro aerial photography tool. In Tripod mode the controller response is reduced and max speed is dropped to just 2.2mph, enabling even the most ham-fisted pilots to produce video gold. Alternatively, Cinematic Mode increases braking distance and smooths rotations for slicker control at higher speeds. In the past we’ve consigned jerky sessions to the trash. After shooting in these modes, 95 per cent of footage was edit-ready.
Though the Mavic Air’s camera is small, it packs a big punch. On-board is a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor and the capability to shoot 4K video up to
30fps. Drop to 1080p and you’ll eek out 120fps, perfect for slow-mo edits. The Mavic Air’s ISO range (100-1600 in auto mode) means it can struggle a little in low light, but the impressive
100Mbps capture rate delivers colours and footage that really pops. Knowing you can shoot great footage without getting your hands dirty in manual settings enables you to enjoy the moment. And isn’t that what great tech is supposed to help us do?
The Mavic Air has a neat party trick: GestureLaunch mode, which is like a pinch-to-zoom function on a tablet
During testing, even when battling strong winds, the Mavic Air took ćLJKW ZLWK HDVH staying airborne for the full 21 minutes